With massive conglomerates like Amazon spoiling consumers with next- or same-day deliveries, the expectations from ecommerce vendors are higher than ever. For ecommerce entrepreneurs, this increases the pressure to deliver and do so quickly and accurately.
However, ecommerce isn’t as simple as having products people want. Inventory and warehouse management is the crux of the industry. For enterprises that have been fortunate enough to thrive, growth brings a unique set of challenges when it comes to order fulfillment. Fortunately, technology has birthed warehouse management systems (WMS) to help ecommerce entrepreneurs achieve growth and sustainability.
This article discusses WMS software, what it is, and how it can make your ecommerce operations more efficient.
What is WMS?
WMS software is a cloud-based solution designed to enhance the operational efficiency of inventory management and fulfillment operations at a warehouse. It can be integrated with ecommerce platforms and order management systems to share real-time product inventory and automatically route orders to the best fulfillment locations.
WMS software allows you to manage your entire supply chain from within a single system, using real-time data for inventory accuracy. It helps synchronize and streamline order and fulfillment across all channels. This WMS software even has a rate shopping tool to help get the best shipping deals. It’s an integral tool for any ecommerce enterprise with ambitions of growth and longevity.
Benefits of using WMS
The best WMS software brings a wealth of customizable features depending on your business needs. You can find its primary benefits below.
Real-time inventory overview.
A good WMS software allows you to see how much inventory you have across multiple channels in real time with the help of radio frequency identification (RFID) and bar-coding technologies. These tools enable you to track every product movement within the warehouse, allowing you to replenish fast-moving products accordingly. You can even integrate this with partner brick-and-mortar stores.
This data is integrated into your ecommerce platforms, allowing customers to see how much stock of the product they’ve been eyeing for weeks is left. This can potentially create urgency to finally check out their carts. This also avoids the disappointment of ordering products that are no longer available.
Warehouse design systems.
There’s a lot going on in warehouses and fulfillment centers. Product movement is in constant flux, which can easily overwhelm warehouse staff and ecommerce platform administrators. With WMS software, you can set up workflows that work best for your business. Instead of having written processes that warehouse staff needs to remember, they can simply follow predetermined workflows in your WMS. This avoids confusion and supply chain issues and increases efficiency.
Additionally, warehouse mapping features enable you to optimize storage space along with picking and packing routes. There are also space and floor plan analysis tools that help ensure movement efficiency, which can result in lower operating expenses.
Optimized labor management.
Apart from warehouse workflows, WMS software also benefits workforce management with features such as real-time productivity dashboards and reporting systems. The data stored in WMS can let you see exactly what’s happening on the ground. It also gives insights into how you can optimize productivity.
You can also see which manual tasks are taking up valuable time and find ways to automate or streamline them. The scanning technologies mentioned earlier are great tools for boosting productivity. Apart from tracking inventory, you can also use mobile scanning devices to increase the efficiency of tasks that include the following:
- Cycle counting
Equipped with these tools, warehouse staff can quickly feed information into the system as they move, giving managers an excellent operational overview.
Enhanced customer satisfaction.
When you have an optimized warehouse workflow, you have the information to cook up value-added services. This can include the following:
- Order bundling
- Same/next-day deliveries for certain orders
- Automated carrier selection based on shipping rates
A good WMS also gives you the agility to respond quickly to damaged, missing, or returned orders. These all add up to better customer experiences, resulting in sustainable relationships and a solid brand reputation.
Data collection is the most powerful tool of management systems like WMS. It can be more effective than the most innovative ecommerce marketing strategies. The longer you use the system, the more information you have to work with to design better workflows and address inefficiencies. This could also lead to increased proficiency in forecasting sales and demand.
Additionally, WMS software features get regular updates, adapting to changing industry needs. This keeps your operations progressively in tune with the times and customers’ increasing expectations and demands.
As you can see, it’s hard to achieve your business’ full growth potential without WMS in your arsenal. While most established WMS platforms can perform the necessary inventory and warehouse management functions, it doesn’t mean you can just pick one with the best price.
Take time to look at your business’ unique needs, where you can heighten productivity, and where inefficiencies are persistent. This will give you a good idea of which features to look for in WMS software as you use it to benefit your business.